Friday, May 27, 2016

Chapter Reveal and give away! Cold Hearted by Toni Anderson

Hunting For A Killer...Who Doesn't Play By The Rules.
Detective Erin Donovan expects life to quiet down after the arrest and conviction of a serial rapist who terrified her university town last summer. Then two young women are brutally slain and the murders bear all the hallmarks of the campus rapist. Did Erin arrest an innocent man? Now her job is at stake and tensions are high and just when it looks like things can't get worse, her department gets the help it needs to solve the double homicide--in the form of a man Erin has never been able to forget.
FBI Agent Darsh Singh has no interest in reliving the past. Three years ago, his feelings for Erin Donovan had him breaking all his rules about getting involved. Now his only interest in the former NYPD detective is figuring out if she screwed up a rape investigation and helped send an innocent man to prison. But being forced to work together rekindles their old attraction, and as Darsh and Erin fall for each other, the campus predator fixates on Erin. The race is on to identify the ruthless killer before he makes Erin his final victim.
Available May 31!  Read the first chapter and enter to win a giftcard below!
 Chapter One Excerpt

He spotted her across the street, blonde hair shining like polished gold in the sunlight, her lithe body tormenting every Y-chromosome in a hundred yard radius. He pulled out his cell and took a snapshot to immortalize the moment. He’d thought she said she was returning later in the week. Obviously he’d been mistaken. He dialed her number and watched her pull out her phone. He waited for the matching smile to form on her lips, for her eyes to light up. Instead, she checked caller ID, grimaced, and let the call go to voicemail.

Horror rushed through him as she re-pocketed the phone and turned back to her companion. What the fuck? He killed the connection and collapsed to a nearby bench, hidden from sight by a mass of tangled bushes.

He’d thought she loved him. That she wanted to be with him…

God! He’d given her everything she needed, laid it out like a feast on a platter with a fucking apple stuffed in its mouth. She played you, dumbass.

Fury flayed his skin. Rage so hot and pure that the blood coursing his body burned his bones. She thought she could dismiss him? Like he was nothing? Like he hadn’t risked everything for her? His hand strangled his phone as he imagined it squeezing her alabaster neck.

A noise brought him back to himself, and he drew in a long breath.

A laugh.

A giggle.

His head jerked up. Students milled around. They were relaxed and happy after winter break. The monster had been caught. They were safe. Life could go back to normal.


How could they think they were safe when the person they were having coffee with might be a predator dreaming about ripping into their soft, white underbelly? Why were they so willing to swallow bullshit as long as it was confidently labeled “truth”?

The system was broken. Bad guys walked free every single day. Good guys rotted. Innocents died.


A cute freshman smiled shyly at him from the bench opposite. He stretched his mouth into an answering curve that revealed nothing of the shock and disappointment that still rippled through him. Women liked him. So why the fuck did she think it was okay to ignore him?

A plan formed in his brain—a plan that buzzed along his nerves with the blistering speed of electricity.

Should he do it?

It might mess up things, and he didn’t want to go to prison, but it would certainly get her attention. His brain raced over the possibilities. He knew how to do this. He knew how not to get caught. And it might keep things interesting. Life had been pretty fucking boring lately and, as he’d found out last year, there was nothing quite as satisfying as revenge.

The student hiked her bag on her shoulder and got up to leave. He eyed the flirty plaid skirt she wore over opaque black tights and tall black boots, then jogged to catch up with her. Made a joke. Made her blush.

It was almost too easy.

He laughed and realized he was enjoying himself again. The excitement resurrected something inside him that was both heady and familiar. Something that scared him enough to keep it tightly leashed and under control. Something he’d denied himself for ten long months.

He reined in the thrill that fizzed through his bloodstream. He needed to be careful. The memory of the disgraced former quarterback reminded him he couldn’t afford to get cocky. No way in hell did he intend to share the asshole’s shame and degradation. But he knew the system. Knew the flaws. She was going to regret not taking that goddamned phone call for the rest of her life.

*     *     *

Cassie Bressinger smoothed out the single sheet of paper and read Drew’s small, cramped handwriting for the seventh time that day.


I was trying to figure out something interesting to tell you, but after only a month I’m already running out of material. I mean, there are only so many adjectives I can invent to describe the three shades of gray that make up the decor here—snot, Minnesota, and dead rabbit are my newest favorites. I probably wouldn’t win any prizes in English class, but as I got kicked out I guess it doesn’t matter.

Three shades of gray—hmm, there might be a book in there somewhere…

Fifty Shades this place is not. Not to say there isn’t plenty of banging going on from the grunts and groans I hear at night. Someone somewhere is enjoying the fuck out of somebody else.

I think it’s consensual…

An ironic concern for a convicted rapist but, hey, who wants to be predictable?

Honestly, Babe, I’m at the stage where protecting my own ass has become my #1 priority. Luckily, I’m a big motherfucker and spent years on the gridiron, staring down people desperate to drill me into the ground. I could do with my offensive line in here though…


I didn’t mean to talk about this shit and I’m running out of writing paper so I don’t want to start over. Plus, my fingers are getting cramps from holding a pen. Yeah, me, former star athlete whose hands were supposed to be his golden meal ticket. Getting cramps from writing a freaking letter! More irony J

Enough about me. How are you? What’s happening with your courses this semester? You said you were going to try and get into law school. Please don’t do that because of me!!! The last thing I want is for you to be stuck in a stuffy courtroom listening to god-awful testimony and watching people’s lives disintegrate. Run away and join the circus. Take a year off and travel the world.


And make sure you write and tell me all about your adventures, okay? I’m living vicariously. And if you want to have sex with other girls—that’s okay. Feel free to write and tell me all about that, too. Kidding! Well…kind of kidding and now kind of horny, which is a pain in the ass. Obviously the DA was right to classify me as a dangerous sex fiend.


Okay, gotta go. Time for me to go line up for sloppy mashed potatoes and sausages that look like severed fingers… Ugh, okay, just grossed myself out.

Don’t worry about me—I got this.

Love you. Miss you.

Drew. X

Someone knocked on the door and Cassie jumped. Tanya Whitehouse sauntered in before Cassie had a chance to hide the letter.

“That from Drew?” Tanya was wearing skinny jeans, her favorite strappy black top, and sparkly earrings. Her lips glowed in glittering magenta. Going out. Doing normal things like a normal person.

Cassie popped a shoulder and nodded.

“He okay?” asked Tanya.

“He’s incarcerated with rapists and murderers for crimes he didn’t commit,” she bit out. “What do you think?”

Tanya placed her perfectly manicured hand along Cassie’s forearm. “You know what I meant.”

Always patient. Always reasonable.

Cassie swallowed the anger. She wasn’t patient, and she wasn’t reasonable. But Tanya was only trying to help. All her friends had been nothing but supportive throughout this entire nightmare.

“He says he’s okay.” Cassie swallowed the knotted lump of grief that had taken up residence in her throat and tried to find her rationality. “I think he just says that to make me feel better.”
“You going to visit him?” Tanya asked gently.

Cassie nodded. “I’m driving over with his dad at the end of the month. Drew doesn’t want me to come, but I—”

“Maybe he’s right.”

Cassie sat up on the messy bed. She knew where this was going. “Please don’t tell me I’m wasting my life. Drew is my life.”

Tanya grabbed Cassie’s hand and squeezed hard enough to hurt. “I just don’t want you to be sad for the next thirty years.”

Her vision blurred, but they both pretended Cassie wasn’t crying. Even she was sick of the incessant tears. “I won’t be.” She was lying. “Anyway, he can still appeal.”

There was an awkward silence when Tanya didn’t say anything. Cassie’s gaze shifted to the image on the front of a magazine. Easier to look at some movie star complaining about her messed up childhood than dealing with the sort of truth that dug holes in your soul.
“Hey,” Tanya said brightly, “there’s a party over at Riddell Hall. Wanna come with?”
Cassie shook her head.

“Come on. It’ll be fun,” her friend urged.

Going to a party would remind her of all the times she and Drew had hung out. She didn’t want to acknowledge the aching void of his absence—especially not in public.

“I have an assignment due tomorrow. I really need to finish it.” She crawled over to her bedside table in search of a tissue.

Tanya lightly flicked the magazine, mockingly. “Well, you better get on with it then.”

Cassie slumped back to the bed, ashamed of how piteous she’d become. “I can’t face seeing people,” she admitted. “Not yet. Maybe coming back to school was a mistake.”

“You did great. Take it slowly. You’ll get there, and we’ll all be waiting for you on the other side of this.”

Cassie nodded. The problem was there was no ‘other side.’ Drew’s loss was like a rip in her chest that got bigger every day. “The world thinks he’s a monster.”

Tanya wrapped her arms around Cassie in a quick hug. “We love him. We know he’s a good guy and would never touch those lying bitches.”

“I don’t know how this could have happened.”

“You can’t lock yourself away forever, Cass.”

But she wanted to.

She didn’t know why she’d come back this term, but hanging around her parents’ house with nothing to do was worse. Christmas had sucked balls. Now she needed to figure out a way to move on without giving up on the man she loved.

She gripped her friend. “I love you, Tan. I’m sorry I’m such a bitch.”

“I love you, too, baby.”

She forced herself to pull away and wiped her eyes. “I really do have an assignment to finish.”

“Then get to it, slacker.” Tanya gave her arm a noogie.

Cassie forced a smile. She’d blown off cheerleading practice earlier today, and if she did it again, the coach would throw her off the squad. She didn’t care, except it would screw with her scholarship, and her parents weren’t wealthy. She couldn’t afford to get thrown out of the program, and she needed a good GPA to have a hope of getting into law school. But every time the football players ran onto the field in their black and gold jerseys, it was like someone was pouring acid in her eyes. Knowing everyone’s life went on while Drew sat locked up in a cell. Her throat constricted. Some days it felt like the pain would consume her whole.

She stood and pushed her friend toward the door. “Go. Have fun. Kiss some hot guys for me.”

“If I can find someone worthy enough, I intend to do a lot more than kiss him. So don’t worry if I don’t come home tonight. I’ll text you.” Tanya grinned. “Mandy’s studying in her room. Alicia is still at the library but said she’d be back just after ten as per usual. She might come to the party later, so if you change your mind…”

“Maybe,” Cassie lied. “You be careful out there. Guard your drink,” she warned. Because if those women had been raped, there was still a dangerous criminal on the loose, and no one knew it.

“I will, honey. Jillian’s going to be here any minute to give me a ride.”

“Go. Have fun.”

Tanya turned and smiled at her sadly, touching her arm. Cassie felt the punch of it near her heart. “You’ll get through this, Cass. You don’t have to forget Drew, but you need to keep living your life. He’d want you to do that.”

Cassie’s lip wobbled as she remembered what he’d said in his letter. She crossed her arms over her chest as she watched her friend jog down the stairs, grab her coat, and race out the front door. She had to believe a miracle was going to happen and that Drew would be freed, but it seemed futile. The judicial process was so slow it took months to even schedule a court hearing. In the meantime Drew was forced to live amongst killers and thieves. Getting raped in the showers wasn’t something anyone should have to worry about. Who could live like that?

That bitch Donovan had a lot to answer for. The blonde detective probably thought this was over.

It wasn’t. It would never be over.

Anger grounded her. Without it she’d be so damn lost.

Across the hall, Mandy turned her music on full blast. Cassie slipped on her noise-canceling headphones and stared at her computer and thought about the paper she needed to finish. Instead she pulled out a pen and notepad and started to write back to the man she loved, stopping only once to wipe away the tears that insisted on falling.

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About Toni Anderson:
New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble's Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.

Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She's addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.

If you want to know when Toni's next book will be out, visit her website ( and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Spring Secrets (Pine Point, #3) by Allie Boniface

Be careful where you dig for secrets…
Pine Point, Book 3

Sienna Cruz left Pine Point at age fifteen after her mother’s untimely death. Eleven years later, a job teaching special needs kids has brought her back. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to believe.

Raised in a poverty-stricken, single-parent household, Sienna is earning her PhD with a dissertation proving even too-perfect-to-be-real Pine Point is a hotbed of small-town secrets and scandal.

Leaving Pine Point turned out to be the biggest mistake of Mike Springer’s life. After eight years on the West Coast, coming home to open a local gym is the first step toward a fresh start, this time with the support of friends and family.

Sparks fly the moment Sienna walks into Mike’s gym, and it isn’t long before they’re workout partners with benefits. Then her research not only hits too close to Mike’s fiercely guarded past, it exposes a sordid truth about skeletons Sienna didn’t know she had in her own closet.

Warning: Contains a class of cute kiddoes that will melt your heart and a sexy tattooed gym owner who can pump more than just iron...

My Review:

I really enjoyed Sienna and Mike's story in Spring Secrets.  Sienna has few good memories of growing up in Pine Point, but she's back for now with her own agenda.  Mike left Pine Point, and nothing good came of that.  Now he's back in the place he truly calls home.  Having met and dated very briefly on Sienna's short return to Pine Point previously, Mike and Sienna are no strangers to the sparks between them.  But neither is looking for a relationship.  Mike has been burned badly before and is not looking to repeat that mistake.  Sienna isn't staying, and she's not looking either.  Neither seems to be able to resist the other though, and soon it may be impossible to only be friends.  When secrets and hidden agendas come out though, is there hope for a tomorrow together?  Or is it too late for trust and love?

I had a harder time connecting with Sienna in Spring Secrets, and I feel like this is because her background was so much more of a mystery than Mike's.  I felt like we got bits and pieces of it as the plot progressed, but I never felt like I truly understood her as well as I would have liked to.  I was a little uneasy about her motives for returning to Pine Point and how this would all work out!  Especially when Sienna and Mike had such an obvious connection between them.  I didn't want either of them to get hurt!  I really liked Mike.  I felt like his character was much more developed and easier to understand and connect with.  I felt for him a lot, but at the same time get frustrated with people (characters!) who hold someone else's poor choices against others of the same sex!  His character really grows a lot though, and I liked the progression of it.  Nothing felt rushed, but it felt very natural, especially after he and Sienna hooked up 'temporarily' as friends.  Sienna's character certainly grew a lot in Spring Secrets, and I liked seeing her mature, feel at home, and become more comfortable with the people and town of Pine Springs than she thought would ever be possible.  This part of her I really liked.  I couldn't wait to see how things turned out for Sienna and Mike.  Would she stay or go?  Would she change her mind about small towns, in particular Pine Point, when she looks at it and the people there through her adult eyes instead of her hurt child's eyes?  I liked the changes I saw to Sienna and Mike as they became closer and more involved not only together but with the small town of Pine Point.

I liked Pine Point and the picture of this place that Allie created in my mind.  Pine Point is a good example of the positives of small town living, and I liked this.

All about moving on and opening up to the future, family values, trust, and secrets - that some secrets should just stay secrets - Spring Secrets enchanted me with not only the characters but the place.  With great flow and pace, Allie easily made me feel like part of Pine Point.  I'd recommend Spring Secrets to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: Fear For Me (For Me #2) by Cynthia Eden

Book Blurb:

She’s the obsession two men share: one wants her love, the other wants her life.

A shared passion for justice first brought Baton Rouge district attorney Lauren Chandler and US marshal Anthony Ross together—when each played their part in bringing down the infamous Bayou Butcher. The sparks flying between the two made it clear they weren’t just a legal dream team. Then desire had to make way for duty, and what they had was done. But it would never be over.

Five years later, it’s none other than the Butcher who gets things started again, when his shocking jailbreak reunites the lawyer and the lawman…and reignites their love. But this time, the pair is in danger of being permanently parted—by a killer with revenge on his mind, and Lauren on the top of his list. As a new wave of terror sweeps through the streets and swamps of Baton Rouge, one man will pit his boundless passion against another’s relentless hate, for the life of the woman who obsesses them both.

My Review:

In Fear For Me by Cynthia Eden, DA Lauren and US Marshal Anthony have not seen each other for 5 years...  Hot when they were together, personally and professionally they seemed to fit.  When Anthony left Lauren was left picking up the pieces.  Now Anthony is back...because an escaped killer has made her his target and Anthony will not let that happen.  As they work together, danger gets closer, but both are determined to catch a serial killer before he strikes again - or worse, strikes Lauren.  As the suspense intensifies, so does the relationship between Lauren and Anthony again...but will they have their second chance?

I really enjoyed this fast paced romantic suspense by Cynthia Eden.  She swept me away to the bayou with her great descriptions and strong characters.  I really liked Lauren and Anthony.  They are both multi layered characters and Cynthia peels these layers back expertly.  Hidden fears, the past, and truths come out, and it only makes them and their relationship stronger.  I liked the development of these two through the story, and the pieces I kept learning about them.  Both of them are dedicated to their jobs, and I couldn't wait to see if they'd end up just as dedicated to each other.  There is tension and conflict personally, but I liked that they were still able to work together.

The suspenseful plot of Fear For Me was captivating!  It was a thrilling ride that kept me guessing right up to the conclusion, then completely surprised me!  I love it when this happens!

Fear For Me is a very well written blend of romance and suspense, and they balance each other out perfectly in this book.  Written in multiple POV's, I liked how Cynthia did this and it made me feel like I got to know the characters well.

Fear For Me is part of Cynthia Eden's For Me series, but can easily be read as a stand alone.  I'd recommend this to any romantic suspense reader!

5/5 Suspenseful stars!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon

Book Blurb:

Secrets and seduction make for an explosive combination in HelenKay Dimon’s edgy, thrilling new series, which kicks off with a novel about two men who can handle any threat—except the one posed by desire.
Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .
Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.
My Review:

Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon starts off with a frenzy of activity when covert CIA operative Fisher discovers someone has his boyfriend Zach...and Fisher must save him.  With his colleague and friend Nathan, they set off to find who has Zach and why.  When it turns out to be a set up by a dangerous criminal organization that Zach appears to be a part of, Fisher is devastated.  But things aren't always as they seem...and soon all three of them are on the run for their lives.

I had a hard time getting into Mr. and Mr.  Smith.  From the outset there was confusion as I read and I felt like I was missing something.  Things slowly pulled together, but the shadowy criminal organization they are up against remained just that - shadowy and a big unknown for me.  This was a bit frustrating as I tried to understand and get into the story more.

Fisher was a bit of a contradiction.  The feelings, care and concern he has for Zach are very obvious, but I felt like Fisher's main concern initially was that his sexuality would now be out in the open.  When the truth about Zach comes out, first Fisher is in disbelief, then he is angry.  Angry and hurt about who Zach is, what he's done, and who he works for.  I felt like it was a bit of a double standard on Fisher's part because both of them had secret lives.  As they spend time at the safe house they've fled to, Fisher is on an emotional roller coaster even as Zach tries to explain and apologize, hoping Fisher will see things from his view.  The relationship is very angsty for two grown men who are supposed to be working as CIA operatives...and much of the plot focuses on their relationship.  In a short time we are taken through a lot of ups and downs for Zach and Fisher.  The chemistry between them is undeniable, the hurt is somewhat understandable.  The sexual part of their relationship is fairly explicit in Mr. and Mr. Smith, but it is relevant to the plot so it works.  Seeing Fisher in particular struggle to trust Zach again had a believable feel to it.  I didn't care too much for Fisher, I liked Zach, but I really liked Nathan who is a strong secondary character.  He really had Fisher's back and stood strong!

The plot slows down for a while when they are in the safe house and everyone there is planning, trying to figure out what's going on, and new characters are introduced.  Once a plan is formulated and set in action, the pace increases and has dramatic, hold your breath suspense.

HelenKay Dimon wrapped up the story so that I wasn't left hanging too much, with some resolution and other parts of the plot left more open to carry on in another book.  (I am assuming there will be another book).

Things aren't always what they appear in Mr. and Mr. Smith.  I'd recommend this to romance readers who like a strong m/m angsty scenario with suspense standing close behind.

3/5 stars

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Review: The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell

Book Blurb:

It all starts with a shiny, red, sit-on lawn-mower. When Nancy spies her Christmas present from her husband sitting on the lawn, she realises the jewellery she thought was for her must be on someone else. Her best friend Carmen isn't surprised (she never liked Jonathan) and persuades Nancy to leave Edinburgh and come and stay in her luxury London flat - far too vast for Carmen since her husband, millionaire rock star Spike Todd, died. Soon Nancy's met gorgeous Connor O'Shea, who lives next door, and his daughter Mia is matchmaking - not least because she'd like to see the back of Connor's current pushy girlfriend. Meanwhile Carmen, who's always been certain she doesn't want another man in her life, feels a spark when a handsome charity worker called Joe calls round. But Joe's not quite all he seems...

My Review:

The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell was a book I completely enjoyed and felt part of!  I laughed (a lot!), cared about the characters, felt heart ache, heart break along side them...but I also felt love and the determination these woman have.

The One You Really Want starts off following Nancy and Carmen as their lives have taken an unexpected turns and it's time for them to take charge and move on.  Most times that's easier said than done, though!  Soon they find themselves living in Caremn's luxury condo in London joined by Rennie (Carmen's late husband's brother) and Rose (Nancy's Mum).  As they all live together and try to go on with their lives, they have each other to lean on, to boss around, and to feel most of all that they are good people and can hopefully find happiness again.   The entertainment value only increased in The One You Really Want as more characters move into the plot, and they all for a friendship.  We learn about all of their lives, and Jill's smooth writing the characters blend well into the plot and work well to support the plot and each other. Going on this journey with them to find The One You Really Want was fantastic!

I loved, loved this group of characters.  Despite some of them being rich and famous, or struggling more, they are a perfect fit for a group of friends supporting each other, and they have a very obvious strong bond.  They are all strong characters, by Rennie, Rose and Mia (see blurb) were my absolute favorites with their interfering ways and not always welcome suggestions.  Have a good age range for the characters also worked well.  There is a lot going on, potential dates that don't work, and lots of hidden under currents and desires between some of the Characters that developed into a memorable story.  I felt like I could easily have joined right in and been welcomed!

I also loved the London setting, the accents, and the different words at times that took me right there!

My review probably doesn't do The One You Really Want justice, but it a fantastic, well flowing read told in numerous POV's that works really well.

This is definitely not the last book by Jill Mansell I'll read!  In fact I bought her recent release today to dive into next!!

I'd highly recommend The One You Really Want to any romance reader who wants to be thoroughly entertained as you get to know these fabulous characters!!

5/5 Powerful stars!!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Review: Discovering You (Whiskey Creek #10) by Brenda Novak

Book Blurb:

Can she ever trust another "bad boy"? 

India Sommers once had the perfect family—until an ex-boyfriend broke in and shot her husband. Not only did that cost her the man she loved, a respected heart surgeon and the father of her child, but she also feels responsible. Charlie died because of the people she hung out with before she had the strength to change her life. 

Just after moving to Whiskey Creek with her little girl, Cassia, to start over, she's learned that her ex-boyfriend's trial ended in a hung jury. He's getting out of jail; he could try to find her again. And that's not all that scares her. She's extremely attracted to her next-door neighbor, but Rod Amos is the handsome "bad boy" type that's given her so much trouble in the past. If she got involved with him, her in-laws would sue for custody of Cassia. 

India has to keep her distance from Rod—but the more she gets to know him, the more difficult that becomes.

My Review:

In Discovering You by Brenda Novak, India has moved to Whiskey Creek to start fresh with her young daughter after her husband was murdered by a man she once knew.  Not long after she's moved in and getting her new home set up, she comes across her neighbor Rod one night...and this bad boy gives her shivers and thrills she doesn't expect, nor does she welcome them.  India has had her share of bad boys and a rough life before she met her husband, and that is all part of her past she wants to leave in the past.  Rod is enchanted by India and as much as India wants to keep him at arms length he finds himself wanting to know her much better.  Just as India feels like she's settling, the man who killed her husband is suddenly out of jail.  She knows that spells a lot of trouble not only for her, but for her daughter and her relationship with her in laws.  Suddenly her life feels like it's becoming out of control...but India is determined this time to take control.  Rod is more than willing to help her...and soon the two of them find themselves not only exploring their feelings for each other and becoming closer, but searching for a murderer before he can find her.

Brenda Novak pulled me in quickly to Discovering You and kept me there with a well balanced, exciting plot and great characters.  I really enjoyed this book and I really enjoyed getting to know India and Rod.  Both of them have moved forward from their pasts, but the past isn't necessarily finished with them.   I liked how they dealt with things straight on, even if the 'adventure' they ended up on wasn't always realistic, it was fast paced and well written.  India and Rod have great chemistry and I liked the connection between them.  Their relationship grew despite the many obstacles they have to overcome and I really found myself hoping they could navigate this rocky road and come out on top.  They felt right together.

I liked the suspense Brenda works into the plot with the murderer of India's husband being released from jail after a hung jury in his trial.  This upped the tension and uncertainty of where things would end up.

Lots of family dynamics are involved in the plot of Discovering you, and a secondary plot involving one of Rod's brothers was very intriguing!

I liked seeing some of the characters from other Whiskey Creek books, but they are seen only in the context of Discovering You, making Discovering You easily a stand alone book.

I'd recommend Discovering You to any romance reader.  

4/5 stars

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Review: The Italian by Lisa Marie Rice

Book Blurb:

He's a dangerous man with dangerous enemies...

In Palermo, Sicily, a city of heart-stopping beauty and intense danger, one man stands for justice. 

Stefano Leone is hunting one of the most dangerous men alive. He lives under armed guard, in constant danger. And then a beautiful American woman contacts him and steals his heart. Is she what she seems or has she been sent by his enemy to find his one weakness? 

Jamie McIntyre comes to Palermo for inspiration for her design business and loses her heart to the toughest, sexiest man she has ever met. She falls under his spell and into his bed, until Stefano?s enemy strikes and she is forced to make an impossible choice.

My Review:

In The Italian by Lisa Marie Rice, I was taken right into Sicily and swept up in the hot romance between Stefano and Jamie!  With her descriptive writing, I could easily see what Jamie saw through her designer eyes on her inspirational trip.  She has another goal while in Sicily also.  Her Grandfather has given her something to give to Stefano, a former student of his.  Stefano lives a dangerous life as he hunts for evil.  Wariness is in his nature, but as soon as he sees Jamie she makes him feel things he has shut off for years...and for a little time he thinks only of her.  Jamie too is immediately drawn to Stefano.  For the little while she is going to be in Palermo, she is suddenly seeing not only a lot of the sights, but a lot of Stefano.  They can't resist each other.  But danger doesn't stop for love or lust or anyone and anything else that can be used as leverage.  They soon find themselves in an almost impossible situation...what will give?

I thoroughly enjoyed (loved!) this novella by Lisa Marie Rice!!  I felt like Jamie in particular was very realistic, and while Stefano might not be your average man, his character, his strength and his loyalty was believable.  The immediate attraction was like a zing that went around the room when they met, and it didn't stop.  I loved the maturity of Jamie and Stefano.  They accept without questioning the intensity of the attraction between them and the fast rush of feelings that both of them experience.  I am a big believer in if you know someone is right you just know and should follow that unexpected path presented to you, and Jamie and Stefano did just that in the way they had to do it.  Even though a future together didn't seem likely, they didn't play games, they didn't deny each other, there was no unnecessary and distracting angst.  They just went with it because it was there and it was so strong.

The suspense is thrust on us as the danger appears where and when it's least expected...making you wonder how Jamie could possibly find the right thing to do.  There more than just her and Stefano involved now.

In the short span of this novella this plot and these characters really captured me.  There are great secondary characters who seem to have stories of their own that I hope might be told, but if they aren't it has no impact on The Italian (only my hope for the future!).

A quick read that enchanted me and flowed well filled with intimate romance and a threat of danger, The Italian and the story told in it was perfect in the span of this novella.  I'd recommend The Italian by Lisa Marie Rice to any romance reader looking for a novella easy to fall into and explore a different part of the world fill with sizzle, danger, and love!

5/5 sexy superstars!!

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: Protecting Justice (Justice Team #4) by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

Book Blurb:

As the premier political spin-doctor in the U.S., Fallyn Pasche can fix any problem--except her own. Her twin sister, Heather, a United States Senator, has been murdered, her father is barely speaking to her, and someone is after coded files Heather hid in a private safe. In order to decode the files and figure out what happened to her twin, Fallyn turns to the Justice Team. What she doesn’t expect is the sexy bodyguard who shows up needing a little personal fixing of his own.

Tony Gerard sees failure every time he looks in the mirror. The former Supreme Court police officer lives with the knowledge that the Chief Justice—a man who was like a father to him—died on his watch. Now he’s sure he can’t protect anyone. When his first assignment for the Justice Team lands him in the media spotlight, working side-by-side with the country’s foremost political fixer, Tony wants to run the other way. But Fallyn’s devil-may-care attitude and tantalizing beauty bring out all of his protective instincts.

As Fallyn and Tony peel back the layers of a government scandal that threatens to bring down the most powerful man in the world, sparks fly along with the intoxicating danger. Desire and passion escalate with their perilous search for the truth as they find relief in each other’s arms from their respective demons. When an unexpected enemy puts Fallyn's life on the line, Tony is forced to face his own failures in order to help her conquer hers. But will he once again fail to protect someone he loves?

My Review:

In Protecting Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano, spin doctor Fallyn has not been extremely close with her twin sister Heather, nor her father.  But when Heather, a US Senator dies unexpectedly, it is Fallyn who is picking up the pieces of a life cut short way too soon.  In a short time, Fallyn becomes convinced Heather was actually murdered as more and more secrets come to light - some of them very dangerous...secrets someone doesn't want exposed.  Tony is a (for now) temporary member of the justice team, on leave from his job as a supreme court police officer.  He has issues and guilt of his own, but when he's called on to protect Fallyn from the press, his duties become much more serious as something sinister is simmering.  Soon he is not only protecting her, but Tony and other members of the Justice Team are helping Fallyn untangle a web of secrets in a hunt for the truth about Heather's death.  What they are discovering soon starts becoming political, involving much more than anyone would have guessed.   As all this is moving forward, at the same time Tony and Fallyn are finding themselves becoming more and more personally involved as an attraction between them heats up...  Tony is determined to keep Fallyn safe.  They are both determined to find out the truth.  Will this determination also help them find peace and future with each other, or will it be too late?

Protecting Justice pulled me in from the start.  I had as much doubt about Heather's death as Fallyn did immediately.  The whirlwind adventure of fact finding, fear (of truths and unknowns), the frightening jeopardy Fallyn just might find herself in, and an unexpected chemistry between her and Tony really made for a book than entranced me and had me glued to the pages!

I really liked Fallyn.  She is a strong heroine, and her development through Protecting Justice is powerful and motivating.  She is determined, brace, loyal, and very smart.  She has a unique perspective that makes her stand out.  She definitely has her own regrets and sorrows, but this seems to have worked to push her forward rather than hold her back.  I think it takes a very strong person to do this, and she's someone I'd like to have not only on my side but as a friend.  I really liked her determination and her ability to stand up to anyone and not be scared enough to back down (but have no fear inside I think she was scared...but she was mad enough that she carried on).

I liked Tony a lot also.  He is definitely not perfect, and he carries a weigh on his shoulders.  Whether or not that weight is his fault, it is still there, affecting him, making him doubt himself.  Working with Fallyn, and then being with Fallyn made me feel like he was in the right place at the right time.  I felt like I could trust him to have my back for sure!  Both of these characters are worth getting to know, and seeing them work together was great!

Not only is the political world that we see and the underworld we don't see explored (and really opened my eyes, because you just never really know!  The writing, the plot and the well developed characters made the plot very plausible).  Sometimes book like this really open my eyes and I think wow, that could really happen, and this was one of them.  Not only was the suspenseful plot, but romance can creep up on you when you least expect it and not always at at the best time!

Filled with government cover ups, secrets, and threats, Protecting Justice has many layers to it that are slowly peeled away...only to find a few more to dig through.  Protecting Justice is predominantly as suspense book with a romance woven in.  This really works for the plot because the feelings, the attraction and the romance are there but they don't overwhelm the plot.

Protecting Justice is very well paced and kept right on going!  So well written, it's hard to believe there are two different authors writing this together.  They did an outstanding job and I'm thrilled to have read this book!

Protecting Justice is part of the Justice Team series, but can definitely be read as s stand alone.  You won't feel like you are missing anything.  I'd highly recommend it to all romantic suspense readers!

5/5 stars

Review link coming soon!